A wrestling program that started in 2008 no longer has to wonder what it is like to have a state champion.
A wrestling program that started in 2008 no longer has to wonder what it is like to have a state champion.
Osage coach Randy Satterlee has been along for every step of the journey and after the Indians came close with two previous state finalists in 2015 graduate Chris Johnson and 2018 graduate Austin Magnuson, the wait is finally over.
Osage sophomore Chase Cordia, who finished fifth in state as a freshman, became the program’s first state champion at Mizzou Arena in Columbia on Saturday evening, capturing the Class 2 title at 160 pounds.
“It is amazing to be that close a couple different times and to have a group that came out this year and wrestled as hard as they did and an individual like Chase, a real good quality kid all the way around, it is just an amazing feeling,” Satterlee said as his program not only produced a state champion but came home with five medalists and the best team finish in its history. “I’m thrilled for him and happy for our school.
“We finally broke the ice. You’ve been at it so long and all the practices and time, it is amazing.”
Osage brought six total wrestlers to state and among the 46 schools that competed amongst the Class 2 boys, the Indians finished fifth overall with 81 team points trailing only Monett (149.5), Odessa (142), Bolivar (88.5) and Pleasant Hill (87). Finishing in the top four would have also resulted in a team trophy coming back to Osage but the alternative is just fine with Satterlee and company.
“Best team we’ve ever coached and they came in and worked hard every day. You don’t have to get on them about working, they wanted to work and that shows in their performances on the mat,” the coach pointed out as his team won a Tri-County Conference title earlier this year. “It is an amazing feeling to work with kids like that. We posted a really good dual season record, had some good tournament finishes and a good finish it looks like here so a great year.”
Well, it certainly could not have ended any better with Cordia in the finale Saturday evening.
The wrestler who finished his season 42-1 worked his way to the finals with pin fall victories over Kirksville’s Dominic Catalan (16-9) and Chillicothe’s Dawson Wheeler (27-7) before wrestling a familiar face in the semifinals against Blair Oak’s Levi Haney (44-4) and capturing an 11-3 major decision.
Sporting the all-white singlet as the spotlight beamed over him during introductions, a tradition reserved for any Osage wrestler who wrestles in a state championship, Cordia said he felt just as confident about the final as any match he previously wrestled. Unsurprisingly, the only wrestler to beat Cordia this season also made the state finals but Cordia was calm and collected.
“Not to be cocky or anything, but I kind of expected it this year. It really does not surprise me,” Cordia said of becoming a state champion. “He was my only loss and I kind of got screwed in the match before so I knew I was going to win.
“I was just going to wrestle like I did before. I mean, I did not win the last match on paper but I won it in my head so why change anything?”
Cordia wrestled Odessa’s Luke Malizzi (42-6) in a tournament on February 1 and came up short in a close battle. He was in for another battle Saturday night as well, hanging on for a 3-2 decision to take the title.
The sophomore struck first with an early takedown in the first 20 seconds before Malizzi got a quick escape point to make it 2-1 with 30 seconds left in the first round. Another escape point in the second round tied the match up heading into the third and Cordia was able to secure the final escape point, protecting his lead for nearly the entire two minutes. Malizzi was close to securing his own takedown for the lead in the third, but Cordia worked to a stalemate and got out of bounds.
“I was not going to let him touch my legs. He did when I was in splits on the edge, but he did not score so it was fine,” Cordia said of the situation. “I was perfectly confident he was not going to score.”
And as the clock hit zero, the nearby Osage fans erupted with cheers. One of them was Cordia’s friend Paven Clark, a basketball player for Osage who suggested the sophomore move up a few weight classes in the first place from 138 pounds.
“That is what I wanted to do. I did not want to be small,” Cordia recalled. “He helped me lift a lot and I was really happy to see him there.”
It was not hard for Satterlee to see the difference, too.
“He just came in and is at a totally different level than what he was last year, obviously,” the coach stated. “He is wrestling smart, seemed like he was more physically fit and he worked hard all summer long. He came in this year ready to go and it was evident of his season. He had an amazing season and to top it off with this, I can’t explain it.”
There was another Cordia in action as well as Chase’s older sister Abbey sought to improve upon her third place state finish as a junior in her final season.
Her tournament began with a pin fall victory over Battle’s Amara Reichert (25-15) before facing eventual undefeated state champion Haley Ward from Fort Osage (36-0) in the quarterfinals and losing by pin fall in the final round. The senior bounced back, though, with a 6-3 decision over Marceline’s Kenzie Stahl (15-5) and 12-7 decision over Waynesville’s Justice Seely (30-4) before falling to Northwest Cedar Hill’s Lily Shaffrey (30-5) in a 9-0 major decision to finish fourth. For Cordia (40-5), it just speaks to how much the quality of competition has improved in just the second year of girls having their own division.
“I feel like my mindset has gotten a lot better and I feel like I wrestled a lot better at state this year than last year,” she said. “I am going to miss it. All my friends that have grown up wrestling, they all had tough competition and it has just been a lot better. Excited to see the next couple of years.”
It may not have been the finish she wanted, but Cordia said she gave it her best and is also excited to see what her teammates can do representing Osage in the years to come, fully confident in their abilities to succeed at state.
“It has been the best two years of my life. I love every person, every coach and my parents were really supportive,” the senior noted of her time with Osage. “The coaches are amazing and my team is wonderful. I love all of them and we are all like a family.”
She still questions if Osage’s first state champion has what it takes to beat her, though.
“I am really proud him. I can still beat Chase,” she said jokingly with a smile.
Another Osage wrestler wrapping up their final season was senior Rudy Escobar. Nearly making the cut at districts his freshman season, an unfortunate pair of injuries as a sophomore and junior denied him the opportunity to wrestle for a state bid. He did not disappoint in his final run, though, capturing fifth place at 182 pounds.
“Just to be able to come here and end up knowing I got a state medal is just awesome,” he said. “I was so happy, I don’t even know what to say.”
Well, he certainly made his voice heard in the final round of consolation.
A pin fall victory over Marshall’s Ethan Stickels (22-6) sent him to the quarterfinals where he fell to Moberly’s Tristan Morris (52-6) in a 7-1 decision. Needing to win twice more to guarantee a state medal, Escobar captured a pin fall over Kennett’s Hayden Higgins (25-16) and a 4-2 sudden victory in overtime over Cameron’s Keegan Reynolds (47-9) to do so and promptly let out a shout of joy. Escobar fell to Buffalo’s Pete Herrera (37-9) in a 9-0 major decision and captured the fifth place match by injury default over Tristan Gillespie from Kirksville (30-6) to wrap up the season 33-10.
“The last four years have been awesome. Meeting great people like Chase and Ryan my junior year, I am glad to call them my best friends now,” the senior said. “You just build a whole bunch of relationships from wrestling.”
That also includes his head coach.
“He is a great guy and has made me the man who I am today. Taught me so many things in life and not just about wrestling but life skills and everything,” Escobar continued. “I am glad to call him my coach.”
Osage junior Jack Creasy was also wrestling in his first state tournament and a third place finish at 195 pounds with a final record of 41-4 is not such a bad outing.
He started his tournament with a 10-4 decision over Cameron’s Camren Hedgpeth (47-11) and bested Alex Meyer of St. Charles West (34-9) with a 13-3 major decision before falling to Harrisonville’s Trevor Campbell (39-6) in a close 4-2 decision. Creasy then made a statement by besting Hedgpeth again with a 17-5 major decision before quickly pinning Oak Grove’s Zander Bringer (33-6) in 35 seconds for third place.
“I just knew if I came in here and do what I knew I could, there was nobody who could wrestle with me. I did not get that done, but it is something I can build off for next year and I’m thankful I have another year to accomplish my goals,” said the junior who earned his 100th career win earlier this year.
“Just to end it like that and get a pin over a good kid like that is really big for me.”
Sophomore Ryan Schepers came in with high expectations as well, looking to build off a third place finish as a freshman. His route was a tough one as he finished fourth at 132 pounds with a final record of 40-8.
“Not very good, honestly,” he said, dissatisfied with the results. “Competition was a lot tougher and the kids were a lot better.”
Schepers pinned Dexter’s Wyatt Parker (15-10) in the first round and fell to Fulton’s Sam Hrabovsky (33-3) in the quarterfinals in a close 4-2 decision. Schepers wrestled his way back with a pin over St. Charles West’s Cole Gramling (33-12), a 9-2 decision over Garrett Lyons of Pleasant Hill (42-8) and an injury default victory over Central Park Hill’s Kade Willis (40-7) before two-time defending state champion Karter Brink of Monett (42-7) managed to edge the sophomore in a 5-3 decision.
It all should only serve as motivation.
“Training for a state title so just makes me want it more,” the sophomore said of the road ahead.
Osage senior Eric Westbrook, who joined the Indians this season as a state medalist from Texas, nearly made the medal stand again. A 6-4 decision in the first round of the bracket at 138 over Camerson Simcox from St. Clair (47-4) got the senior off to a great start. He fell to eventual state finalist Cristian Dixon of Benton (41-2) in an 8-1 quarterfinal decision, won a close 3-2 decision over Fulton’s Eston Dews (23-18) and lost the final match that would guarantee a medal against Excelsior Springs’ Braxton Rickard (14-6) in a 6-2 decision to finish the year 28-8.
“The kids that came here wrestled tough,” Satterlee said. “It was a great effort by everyone involved and even those kids back in the room that worked with these kids, even though they are not here, all of that transfers to those kids making it to where thy are at right now.”
Perhaps a sign of good things to come, there were five other Indians who nearly reached state as well.
“The intensity in the room this year, you could tell more kids wanted it. We had almost the entire team end up coming to state and had five kids lose their bubble matches,” Escobar remarked. “Next year they’ll definitely win and end up coming to state so next year there will probably be a big group coming.”
Satterlee certainly hopes so and said a year like Osage had should help. His wrestlers are just as confident and ready to go.
“It has been great,” Schepers said. “The team is as good as it has ever been and we are doing amazing.”